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Paddy's Lament, Ireland 1846-1847: Prelude to Hatred
Thomas Gallagher
Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One
Jenny K. Blake
When in French: Love in a Second Language
Lauren Collins
Beyond the Job Description: How Managers and Employees Can Navigate the True Demands of the Job
Jesse Sostrin
Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing
David Hubel, Margaret S. Livingstone
Achieving Your Potential As A Photographer: A Creative Companion and Workbook
Harold Davis
Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age
Sherry Turkle
Picture Perfect Practice: A Self-Training Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Taking World-Class Photographs (Voices That Matter)
Roberto Valenzuela
Man's Search for Meaning
Viktor E. Frankl, Harold S. Kushner
Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection
Jacob Silverman

An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination: A Memoir

An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination - Elizabeth McCracken "I want it, too, the imposible lighter-side book. I will always be a woman whose first child died, and I won't give up either that grievance or the bad jokes of everyday life. I will hold on to both forever. I want a book that acknowledges that life goes on but that death goes on, too, that a person who is dead is a long, long story. You move on from it, bu the death will never disappear from view. Your friends may say, Time heals all wounds. No, it doesn't, but eventually you will feel better. You'll be yourself again. Your child will still be dead. The frivolous parts of your personalit, stubborner than you'd imagined, will grow up through the cracks in your soul. The sad lady at the Florida library meant: the lighter side is not that your child has died -- there is no lighter side to that -- but that your child lived and died in this human realm, with its breathtaking sadness and dumb punch lines and hungry seagull. That was the good news. She wasn't going to pretend that he hadn't, no matter how the mention of him made people shift and look away." p13-14"When I was a teenager in Boston, a man on the subway handed me a card printed with tiny pictures of hands spelling out the alphabet in sign language. I AM DEAF, said the card. You were supposed to give the man some money in exchange. I have thought of that card ever since, during difficult times, mine or someone else's: surely when tragedy has struck you dumb, you should be given a stack of cards that explain it for you. When Pudding died, I wanted my stack. I still want it. My first child was stillborn, it would say on the front. It remains the hardest thing for me to explain, even now, or maybe I mean especially now -- now that his death feels like a non sequitur. I want people to know, but I don't want to say it aloud. People don't like to hear it but I think they might not mind reading it on a card. I could have taken my cards, translated into French, to the stores of Duras, where the baker, the butcher, the dry cleaner, the grocery store ladies, had seen me growing bigger and bigger over the months: I couldn't beat the idea of them seeing me deflated and asking after the baby. "Voila," I'd say, and hand over a card. I could have given a card to the imperious man at immigration in Portsmouth who almost denied me entry into England. To the waiter at the curry house that summer who was always mean to us. To the receptionist at the ob-gym practice in Saratoga Springs at my first visit. To the nurses who asked me why I was scheduled for such close prenatal monitoring.To every single person who noticed I was pregnant the second time, and said, "Congratulations! Is this your first?"To every person who peeks into the stroller now and says the same thing.Every day of my life, I think, I'll meet someone and be struck dumb, and all I'll have to do is reach in my pocket. This book, I am just thinking now, is that card." p.73-74"Somehow every one of those things happened at exactly the right time for me. This is why you need everyone you know after a disaster, because there is not one right response. It's what paralyzes people around the grief-stricken, of course, the idea that there are right things to say and wrong things and it's better to say nothing than something clumsy.I needed all of it, direct comfort, hearsay grief. Edward's great friend Claudia's husband, Arno, a stage manager and perhaps the calmest person I've ever met, burst into tears on the phone when Edward called, and when Ann called my friends Jonathan and Lib, Jonathan did, too. "Oh," Ann said to me, "to hear that big man cry." I couldn't have borne listening myself, to him or Arno, but to know that they did -- it felt as though they had taken part of the weeping weight from my shoulders. Of course I cried an awful lot, but I also regretted every stupid time I'd ever cried in my life over nothing, days as a teenager I'd wept myself sick and couldn't remember exactly why, when I should have saved up. Now, in Tipperary and near Harvard Square, big men were crying for us. Before this I'd imagined that professional mourners, people hired to cry at funerals, were always little old ethnic grandmothers, maybe because the first funeral I'd been to was for a fifth-grade classmate named Paula Leone, and her Italian aunts had howled at the graveside. "There shouldn't be old women," I told Edward in Bordeux. "They should be big men, a whole line of them, crying." p. 75-76"All I can say is, it's a sort of kinship, as though there is a family tree of grief. On this branch the lost children, on this branch the suicided parents, here the beloved mentally ill siblings. When something terrible happens, you discover all of a sudden that you have a new set of relatives, people with whom you can speak in the shorthand of cousins.Twice now I have heard the story of someone who knows someone who's had a stillborn child since Pudding has died, and it's all I can do not to book a flight immediately, to show up somewhere I'm not wanted, just so that I can say, It happened to me, too because it meant so much to me to hear it. It happened to me, too, meant: It's not your fault. And You are not a freak of nature. And This does not have to be a secret.That's how it works. When a baby dies, other dead children become suddenly visible: Daughters and sons. First cousins. The neighbor kid. The first child. The last child. Your older brother. Some of their names have been forgotten; some never had names in the first place. They disappeared under heaps of advice. Don't dwell. Have another baby, a makeup baby. Life is for the living. But then another baby dies, and here they are again, in stories, and you will love them all, and -- if you are the mother of a dead child yourself -- they will keep coming to you. A couple I know just lost their baby. And you will know that your lost child has appeared somewhere else in the world. I know a couple. . .All those dead child. Who knows what they want?....The dead don't need anything. The rest of us could use some company." p.136-138